||Last Updated: 6 May 2018 - 8:56:34 PM
Welsh and German teams join powerful international line-up
By Heather Boyle, CI Communications Officer
4 May 2018,
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|2016 King of the Mountains winner, Nikodemus Holler, Germany Bike Aid. Mandatory Photo Credit: @INPHO/Morgan Treacy|
2018 RÁS TAILTEANN:
The number of international teams announced for this month’s Rás Tailteann has climbed to ten, with the Wales national team and the Germany Bike Aid squad confirmed for the event.
Peter Kibble, Zachery May, Dan Coombe, Will Roberts and James Tillett have been listed as the likely starters for the Welsh squad. Kibble represented the country in the time trial and road race at the recent Commonwealth Games, netting 15th in the former and helping compatriot Jon Mould take silver in the latter.
May was seventh in last year’s 1.2-ranked Rutland - Melton Cicle Classic while Coombe was ninth in the 2017 OberÖsterreich Juniorenrundfahrt 2.1 event for juniors.
“Pete will be our GC rider and aiming to impress in the mountains,” says team directeur sportif Rob Partridge, who rode ten editions of the Rás and was a superb fourth overall in 2015. “Zac will be looking for stage wins on the flatter days, and bring some experience to the team.
“We have a strong back up with James, Will and Dan who are great all-rounders and can be up there on their day as well. Four of the five riders are U23, so a target as a whole would be the young riders' jersey. Our options are very much open, and I'm excited to head to Ireland with this group of talented riders as part of our new U23 programme within Welsh Cycling - Wales Racing Academy.”
The Germany Bike Aid team previously competed in the Rás Tailteann in 2012, 2013 and 2016. This year’s line-up includes Nikodemus Holler, who won the mountains competition and finished tenth overall in 2016. He also won last year’s Tour du Cameroun, and will be the team’s general classification rider for the race.
Lucas Carstensen will be the team’s designated sprinter, and has stage victories to his credit in the 2018 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo plus the 2017 Tours of Senegal and Xingtai. Also set to appear are former Eritrean national champion and 2017 African Continental time trial champion Meron Teshome, the 2015 Tour of Egypt runner up Adne Van Engelen and Patrick Lechner, third on a stage of the 2016 Tour du Cameroun.
“The team’s goals are to fight for the general classification win, and to take stages,” said team coordinator Timo Schäfer.”
The squad will do a series of UCI-ranked races as part of its build-up.
“Just as was the case with the previously announced international teams, these latest two squads will help shape the 2018 edition,” says race director Eimear Deignan. “Both will have guidance from riders who have done the race before, and the Germany Bike Aid team can also draw on the Rás experience of Nikodemus Holler. This will help greatly in getting the best possible results, and in shaking up the race.”
This year’s Rás Tailteann totals eight days and 1168.7 kilometres in length, and is ranked as a 2.2 event on the UCI’s international calendar. It will feature four gruelling category one climbs plus 30 other categorized climbs, as well as stage finishes in Athlone, Tipperary, Listowel, Glengarriff, Mitchelstown, Carlow, Naas and Skerries. It will run from May 20 to 27.
Rás Tailteann route 2018 (UCI 2.2 race):
Stage 1, Sunday May 20: Drogheda to Athlone, 136 kms:
Stage 2, Monday May 21: Athlone to Tipperary, 148.7 kms:
Stage 3, Tuesday May 22: Tipperary to Listowel, 140.4 kms:
Stage 4, Wednesday May 23: Listowel to Glengariff, 153 kms:
Stage 5, Thursday May 24: Glengarriff to Mitchelstown, 150.2 kms:
Stage 6, Friday May 25: Mitchelstown to Carlow, 154.6 kms:
Stage 7, Saturday May 26: Carlow to Naas, 141.2 kms:
Stage 8, Sunday May 27: Naas to Skerries, 144.6 kms:
Total: 1180.5 kms
Race Website: www.rasireland.ie
Official Twitter: @rastailteann #Ras2018
Official Facebook: @rastailteann2018
Previously known as the An Post Rás, the event is searching for a new title sponsor. The race recently announced an initiative with cycling clothing manufacturer Spin 11, whereby a commemorative cycling kit is being produced and will help secure the future of the race.
The jersey and gillet feature the names of the Rás champions dating back to the first event in 1953. Proceeds will contribute to the running of the event.
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